For many years, I've had the urge to want to help others like myself. Others struggling through depression and eating disorders. I r...

I Want To Live!

For many years, I've had the urge to want to help others like myself. Others struggling through depression and eating disorders. I recently joined a couple of eating disorder support groups on facebook with this in mind. I quickly realized a few things. First, I was slightly overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who need help and this is just in these groups! It just breaks my heart that so many people on this planet struggle as I did, with something as vital as eating. Second, I have to limit how much time I spend on there because I can't help everyone and I won't be able to help anyone if I let it all drag me down. And lastly, I realized I was right. I do have the ability to help now. I am far enough in my recovery that I can be supportive. I can read people's posts and while I can remember back to a time I completely related, I no longer have that urge to be that person anymore. For someone who was told by my first therapist that I would never completely recover, it's really amazing to realize how wrong that was.

Today's post is mostly for the people in these groups, and anyone else who stumbles upon my blog that has an eating disorder. Today I am here to give you hope. The hope that you can recover. The truth that it is possible. I'm living proof of that. It's not just something the people in your life tell you to try to make you feel better. Recovery is real. I won't lie to you, it's not easy. No part of it is, it's always hard. But the farther on the path of recovery you go, the easier it gets. Some days are harder than others of course, and I still have days where I have to wrestle with my thoughts. But it's not like it was 15 years ago, or even 5 years ago. I have way more good days than bad. Even with more stress in my life now with work, family, kids, health problems, etc. you name it. Life has not gotten any easier but I have learned healthy coping mechanisms instead of destructive ones.

It all comes down to a choice. My father gave me the advice long ago when I was in the worst of it. I didn't listen then of course, but later on I realized it was actually great advice. He said, "you're complicating things. Keep it simple. Do you want to live or do you want to die? You want to live. Do you want to be happy or miserable? You want to be happy." After that is where we part ways on opinions, because as someone who has struggled with depression on and off for most of my life, I know that it's not as simple as "just be happy". Yes you have a choice. But when you're depressed, it's very difficult to choose happiness. Often you feel like you don't know how. And I think eating disorders are always the result of severe depression, so the two go hand in hand, often feeding off each other and making the cycle worse and worse. But you still have a choice. The choice to try. The choice to not give in to every evil your eating disorder whispers to you, but to instead tell it to fuck off. The choice to find the beauty in your life instead of only the pain. The choice to turn your determination to hurt yourself into determination to love yourself.

My current (and wonderful 😊) therapist has a great question you can ask yourself while you're thinking on this. "Do you want to do this for the rest of your life?" This type of self-examination can really help put things into perspective. When we're trapped in the depths of an eating disorder or depression, we get wrapped up in only our current pain without even realizing it. But if we can step outside of that and see beyond what we're experiencing right now, we can help ourselves. Try to picture yourself 5, 10, 20 years down the road. I don't know about you, but I always like to picture my future self as happy and past whatever my current problems are, not still struggling with the same bullshit.

Failure, imperfection, "I can't do it", none of these things have a place in recovery. Fuck all of that. Perfection is an illusion, move past that myth. Control is bullshit. You can't control all the shit that happens in your life. You never will. That's the hard truth about life. Learning to to let go of the idea that we can control everything is a huge step to recovery. Controlling your eating will not fix anything in your life. It won't fix your problems with your family. It won't fix your relationships. It won't help you achieve your goals. Eating disorders are not the answer. They are a terrifying obstacle, but you will be so much stronger once you come out on top.

Here's something that really helped me get started. I set a few real life goals for myself. It's good to write them down somewhere you'll see them often. Get your degree, get that job you want, travel, skydive, have a family, whatever it is. And add "happiness" to that list. If you really think about what you want in life, combined with wanting happiness, you'll know I'm right. The eating disorder is holding you back, it will not get you what you want. Don't let it stand in your way. Don't let it destroy you. I know you feel weak, but you're not. I know deep down there is strength in there. We all have it, we just have to find it and use it to rise out of the hell we've created for ourselves.

If you choose life and happiness, then you can recover. If you work hard and stay determined to recover, you will. I think the hardest part is that first step, that choice, that hard decision. That moment, or moments, where you decide, I WANT TO LIVE! I don't want to die. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom first to find it, and sometimes you don't. Everyone's bottom is different. Some suffer most of their lives, others only for a few years, before they find their bottom, their place where they realize what they're doing to themselves. Where the reality hits you hard that if you keep doing what you're doing, you will die. But whether you get close enough to stare death in the face, or just catch a glimpse of it, you'll see your choice, clear as day. Life or death? Will you succumb or will you fight back?

Choose to fight. Choose life. You CAN do it. You CAN recover. Don't let eating disorders claim another beautiful life. You deserve to live.


  1. Wow, this is a powerful post! Thank you for writing and sharing your struggles-you are a true inspiration! I briefly battled anorexia nervosa when I was a teenager (last about two years). what snapped me out was my mother threatening to take me to the doctors, and I HATED going to the doctors. I've learned to love my body and me just the way I am but it took me a long time, but I DID get there. :-)

    Carrie Ann

    1. Thank you Carrie Ann! Recovery takes a long time no matter how long you suffered. I'm glad you made it out!

  2. Like you, I have had a strong desire, almost a calling I'd say, to help others who have experienced some of the struggles I have (anxiety and depression). I think it's so important to talk about these kinds of things although it may not be easy at times. I suffered with major depression for the better part of 15 years and used food as a coping mechanism--I suppose that's better than some other things I could've done right?! I'm trying to train myself to not eat so much chocolate ;) I applaud you for stepping up, sharing your story and being ready and willing to help others. Only by facing our problems head on can we improve them and help others do the same.

    1. Thank you Meg! It is very important that we all talk about mental health issues. I really think it will help society as a whole if we all learn to be open and honest about it. Thanks for reading!